New Pig acquires loan from Commonwealth for rebuilding efforts

A state loan program is going to help a local manufacturing company rebuild after an October 2002 fire gutted an entire warehouse building.
New Pig Corp., located in the 30-acre Ardie J. Dillon Industrial Park in Antis Township, was awarded the $1.4 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority on Monday.
According to Scott Diminick, New Pig’s plant manager, the loan will be used to construct a warehouse building more than twice the size of the building that burnt to the ground last fall.
“The whole building is going to be high bay with an internal peak height of 45 feet,” said Diminick. “It allows us to store very high, which gives us a lot of skid space per square foot.”
According to Diminick, the new building will measure 350-feet by 350-feet and contain about 122,500 square feet inside and will be used entirely for storage. In Building Two, before it burned, only about 50 percent was used for storage, while the rest of the area was used for customer service and other customer-related functions.
“As far as getting construction moving, we’ve been doing that,” said Diminick. “The back half of the building that burned down was in the footprint of the new building,” said Diminick. “We had the construction crews clear that area out first so we could get moving. The excavator has been here and moving trees and brush and getting everything ready to start pouring the footers.”
Diminick said once the frost leaves the ground, the footers can be poured.
Construction would have begun sooner if there wasn’t legal delays in the process. In January, a company which supplied lighting to New Pig was pointed at as possibly being responsible for the fire. New Pig claimed a disfunctioning lightbulb could have ignited the multi-million dollar blaze.
As a result, the company asked a Blair County judge to halt any construction on the building until private investigators could sift through the rubble while New Pig and its investigators did also.
According to Diminick, investigators processed the rubble from early January and in mid-March, loaded a tractor trailer full of evidence to take back to their offices for analysis.
“They used all their procedures for collecting data, samples and evidence,” said Diminick. “Now they’ll go back to their offices, throw all the information into a computer, and begin trying to figure out what started the whole thing.
“It will probably be two or three more months until they come up with a conclusion.”
In addition to the legal ramblings, other small roadblock presented themselves to New Pig officials.
When the design of the new building was complete, officials were quick to point out that the new building would run onto existing wetlands. In 1991, when New Pig, expanded Building Two, it needed to mitigate existing wetlands to make expansion possible.
“Back in 1991, the expansion plan looked a little different than what it does now,” said Diminick. “There was a very small (.33 acres) of land that was never mitigated in 1991 because we never planned on touching it. We had to take care of it.”
Diminick said New Pig was fortunate enough to have dry land on the back of our property that it was able to use as a mitigation site. He said the area was perfect because it is located adjacent to an existing wetland.
“If you try to construct a new wetland, it’s always iffy whether or not it’s going to take,” said Diminick. “When you construct a wetland next to an existing wetland, your chances of success are far greater.”
Diminick said once the proper permits were in place, the state Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corp of Engineers put the project on “the fast track,” stating it was finished in two months after the mitigation question was raised.
Diminick also noted that Building Five is completely renovated and fully functionable.
He said this building, which was once owned by C-COR, is now occupied by the customer service employees who worked in Building Two prior to the fire. This building was also purchased with a PIDA loan.
“It’s a great facility,” said Diminick. “It even has a nice new gymnasium for the employees.”